Ascension

So much that is vital within the field of typology is involved in this specific feature of Christology that there is occasion for an individual doctrinal consideration of its character. While it may be true that during the forty days of His postresurrection ministry Christ moved back and forth freely between earth and heaven, it is of doctrinal importance and within the bounds of that which is written to recognize two ascensions—one directly following the resurrection and the other when He visibly departed on the clouds at the end of the forty days. Though no Scripture directly describes the first ascension, it is implied in the record of what Christ said to Mary in the early morning at the tomb, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17). That He ascended on this same day subsequent to the resurrection is evident, for He said unto His disciples at evening of that day, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see" (Luke 24:39).

In this first ascension which followed directly upon His resurrection, two important types were fulfilled. It would not have been reasonable for this twofold fulfillment to have been delayed until the end of the forty days on earth—especially as one of the types, that of the "wave sheaf," represents Christ in resurrection. Of all the sheaves of grain on the hills of Palestine but one from each homestead was waved ceremonially before Jehovah, and that on the day following the Sabbath (cf. Lev. 23:11) and as a representation of all the sheaves of the harvest. Thus Christ when He ascended from the tomb appeared as an earnest of the mighty harvest of souls whom He had redeemed, who came with Him out of the tomb and who share His resurrection life and glory. He was thus the "firstfruits of them that slept," a representation of that resurrection of believers that is yet to be (cf. 1 Cor. 15:20-23).

The other type which Christ fulfilled in connection with His first ascension was that of the high priest presenting the blood in the holy of holies on the Day of Atonement. Thus Christ the true High Priest presented His own blood and the acceptance of that sacrifice for sinners answers every need of the sinner forever. The importance of the presentation in heaven of the emblem of His finished work in redemption, reconciliation, and propitiation cannot be estimated nor should it be slighted.

At His second ascension, which occurred at the end of His postresurrection ministry of forty days, Christ was seen returning on the clouds of heaven. He then undertook His present session at the Father's right hand, and with it the far-reaching ministries which continue throughout this age and which provide all security for those who are saved. It was then that He became "Head over all things to the church" (Eph. 1:21-22), the Bestower of gifts (Eph. 4:7-11). He took up the twofold, priestly ministries of intercession (Rom. 8:34; Heb 7:25) and advocacy (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24; 1 John 2:1).

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